They are pretty, but mundane. They are found on kitchen tables and bureaus in probably any city with a flower shop, from LA to Tokyo, taking the circuitous route. The number and the gardener's bucket might indicate that this is indeed at a flower shop. Behind me is the glory of Borough Market in Southwark, and more particularly, the bread stand from which I would later buy a tasty hot crossed bun. Given the temperature, it was in fact a rather chilly bun, but still filled with delightful bits of candied fruit, and marked with a frosting cross. It would be my first breakfast in England. In my few days there, I missed out on nearly all the traditional foods excepting beer, though even then I was getting a bit away from the common. I had a Sam Smith cherry ale. Friday was probably my most pleasant day in England, Saturday the most useful, and Sunday the most tiring. The trip was interesting, surprising, and trying. Much walking was involved.
This trip should have been in the company of friends. The only reason that I went at this time was because it would be with the other Americans here. I had already bought my plane and concert tickets for late March and that troubadour of Chi-town Andrew Bird. Is the latest variation on Bird's band worth a trip to London in time and tickets? Well, perhaps if it is your first visit and you can combine it with the joys of exploration. But, I reasoned, traveling with friends can also be worth it, so I'll go for both.* The problem with this arises thusly. Of the American five, three chose to fly through Frankfurt, because the extra time traveling actually allowed them a cheaper flight. I and my traveling companion did not feel that the extended trip was worth it, and paid the slightly higher fare for a direct flight. On Thursday, as the day before, it was snowing. The first flight for the three was delayed. This would not have been so great a problem if it hadn't been delayed by something greater than 6 hours including a bus from the airport from which they were scheduled to depart to the large airport in Oslo. Upon arrival in Frankfurt these thrifty travelers learned that it would cost them $100 to have their tickets changed so that they could take another flight to London as their booked flight had taken off without them.
Cut to my dormmate and I, taking the bus from Bø to Sandfjord. Only then did one of them call us to announce that their flight, which had been scheduled to take off over 12 hours earlier in the day, had been delayed so long that they would not be going on to London and they had canceled our hostel booking.** We arrived at Stansted after 2300, with the kind offer from my companion's cousin that we would sleep at her place. In fact, we were able to do this for two nights, and while my dormmate went up to a quaint small town for Saturday night and Sunday, I was able to find a cheap hostel in the suburbs to see me through the night.
End arrival stress. Stay tuned for the continuation detailing some of what was actually done on the journey.
*I did try to persuade people to go to a non-English speaking country for the group trip, because then one can rely on someone else when they are tired of being confused. Ironic, isn't it?
**Some consideration should be given that the one kind enough to call and inform us of this had run out of minutes on her mobile phone, and made the expensive long distance call to inform us of the happenings.